Sulfur and carbon cycling in a flue gas desulfurization sludge disposal site

Chris Eastoe, Janick Artiola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Products of a power plant flue gas desulfurization scrubber are discharged into a pond as sludge consisting of calcite (initial δ13C 3.2–3.8‰), gypsum (initial δ34S 7.6–8.6‰), and aqueous solution. Reducing conditions exist below a boundary that appears to move vertically as a function of changes in pond water level. Under reducing conditions, bacteria partially reduce aqueous sulfate to low-δ34S sulfide, consuming organic carbon and generating low-δ13C bicarbonate. Under oxidizing conditions, sulfide is converted to sulfate, leading to calcite dissolution, gypsum precipitation, and isotopic re-equilibration of remaining calcite with dissolved bicarbonate near the pond surface. The gypsum has δ34S near 6‰, and calcite has δ13C as low as -1.7‰; the changes from initial values correspond to predictions based on isotopic balance and reaction stoichiometry. The pond largely contains the products of bacterial reduction. After the pond is abandoned, these products may adversely affect attempts to revegetate the site. Future bacterial reduction may be best controlled by dewatering and limiting the supply of organic matter in percolating surface water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)417-424
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Air and Waste Management Association
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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